Poudel and Pristash receive WRF Postdoctoral Fellowships

Submitted by Diana Knight on

The 2023 cohort of Washington Research Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship recipients was announced on December 15, 2022. Two postdoctoral scholars in the Department of Chemistry, Dr. Chetan Poudel and Dr. Sarah Pristash ‘22, were selected to join this prestigious cohort.

Poudel, a postdoctoral scholar in Associate Professor Joshua Vaughan’s group, was selected to apply lightsheet microscopy of novel fluorescent probes and machine learning to study 3D renal pathology.

Pristash, a postdoctoral scholar in Associate Professor Cody Schlenker’s group, was selected to develop new molecular upconversion platforms with exciting commercialization potential.

Poudel and Pristash were selected for funding by a national committee chaired by David Galas, Ph.D., a senior investigator at Pacific Northwest Research Institute. In addition to financial support, Fellows participate in networking and professional development events, including an annual symposium to present their research and to learn more about their colleagues’ work and potential collaboration opportunities.

Chetan Poudel smiles at the camera; greenery is behind him

Poudel earned a B.A. in physics from Oberlin College and a Ph.D. in biotechnology from the University of Cambridge. His doctoral work with Professor Clemens Kaminski focused on developing advanced optical microscopes to study neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. 

As a postdoctoral scholar at the UW, Poudel has been collaborating with a number of research groups to develop 3D imaging technologies to study renal diseases. In Vaughan’s group, he has been applying novel ways to clear, expand, and label tissues. With Professor Daniel Chiu’s group, he is developing novel fluorescence probes to target many key structures in the kidney at the same time. With Professor Jonathan Liu (Mechanical Engineering), he is building a lightsheet microscope for deep 3D imaging of the whole kidney. He has also been working with Professor Stuart Shankland (Nephrology) whose group has generated mouse models of various chronic kidney diseases. As a Washington Research Foundation Postdoctoral Fellow, Poudel will work to integrate all these different technologies. He expects that this project will reveal 3D structural and functional connections in the kidney like never before, potentially leading towards improved disease diagnosis and therapies.  

Outside of the lab, Poudel enjoys hiking in the beautiful Pacific Northwest, paddleboarding, and playing with his newborn son. 

Portrait of Sarah Pristash

Pristash earned a B.S. in chemistry from the University of Rochester in 2016 and the Ph.D. from the University of Washington in 2022. Her doctoral research with Professor Cody Schlenker involved the synthesis and characterization of novel all-organic triplet sensitizers for upconversion systems.

As a Washington Research Foundation Postdoctoral Fellow, she will expand on her thesis research by translating her novel upconversion system to be compatible with commercial solar technologies through molecular design and materials engineering. Sarah’s work has the potential to impact the photovoltaic market, especially by enabling next-generation solar technologies.

Outside of the lab, Pristash enjoys reading with her local book club, seeing concerts in Seattle’s excellent music venues, and playing with the many pups she dog-sits. 

Congratulations to Drs. Poudel and Pristash!